Stem cell treatment no panacea, docs say


Researcher Shruti Dave (right) and assistant Chetan Patel work on stem cell cultures at the Transplantation Biology Research Centre at The Institute of Kidney Disease and Research Centre (IKDRC), Civil Hospital campus in Ahmedabad on February 6, 2013. The Philippine College of Physicians wants the Food and Drug Administration to more strictly regulate the use of stem cell therapy, which was being “wrongfully projected as a cure-all.” AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) wants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to more strictly regulate the use of stem cell therapy, which was being “wrongfully projected as a cure-all.”

At a press conference in Quezon City on Tuesday, PCP vice president Dr. Anthony Leachon said the use of stem cell therapy to treat almost all medical conditions was becoming rampant even though the treatment has been tested and approved only for some blood and bone marrow cancers and primary immune deficiencies. This poses serious safety issues, he warned.

Leachon said the use of the treatment to cure other diseases or even slow down aging has not been scientifically proven in clinical studies.

He said current government regulations were centered on the proficiency of the medical practitioners and not on the treatment’s use and efficacy.

While the therapy has been clinically tested to be beneficial in the treatment of cancers in the blood and bone marrow as well as primary immune deficiencies through stem cell transplants from a person’s own body (autologous) or from a donor (allogeneic), it has not been proven effective to cure other health conditions.

Leachon said stem cell therapy has been wrongfully projected as a cure for all kinds of illness including diseases of the heart, lungs, skin, and the kidneys; neurologic, rheumatologic and gastrointestinal conditions; as well as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, autism, the human immunodeficiency virus or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and even aging.

Stressing that simple diseases can be treated simply without resorting to stem cell therapy, he added: “Preventive health is always preferable to depending on quick fixes.”

The president of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine (PSGIM), Dr. Antonio Dans, clarified that the PCP is not against stem cell therapy per se but about its effective use in the treatment of health conditions other than blood-related illnesses.

He said that simple case reports or individual accounts on the effectiveness of the treatment for certain conditions have “low scientific value.”

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  • erica

    Of course ayaw nilang gumaling lahat ng sakit sa stem cell therapy dahil mawawalan sila ng pasyente, wala ng raket ang mga doctor na yan.

    • KarmaGMA

      agree !!!

  • nes911

    Tanong: ang stem cell treatment ba pwede sa mga 70 years old? Kasi yung lolo ko nagpa stem cell treatment sa germany, ngayon biglang nagulianin. Same is true to enrile and erap, i suppose.

  • caloyski65

    yun mga corrupt na politiko na gaya nila erap, enrile at iba pa na nag pa stem cell treatment eh gusto pa nila na mas humaba pa yun buhay nila….takot kasi ang mga yan na pag namatay sila eh sa IMPIYERNO sila pupulutin dahil sa mga kasalanan nila…

  • mishmarlowe

    This is a very good and timely article.

  • Isagani Gatmaitan

    Enrile is a living testament to the effectivity of stem cell treatments on neural regeneration…. luminaw ang pagiisip…. biglang remember na totoo naman pala talaga na ambush yung nangyari sa kanya noon! (As PT Barnum once said….)

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